A broadband light-emitting diode. The broadband light-emitting diode (LED) comprises a plurality of III-V compound semiconductor layers grown on a semiconductor substrate, with the semiconductor layers including a pair of cladding layers sandwiched about a strained-quantum-well active region having a plurality of different energy bandgaps for generating light in a wavelength range of about 1.3-2 .mu.m. In one embodiment of the present invention, the active region may comprise a first-grown quantum-well layer and a last-grown quantum-well layer that are oppositely strained; whereas in another embodiment of the invention, the active region is formed from a short-period superlattice structure (i.e. a pseudo alloy) comprising alternating thin layers of InGaAs and InGaAlAs. The use a short-period superlattice structure for the active region allows different layers within the active region to be simply and accurately grown by repetitively opening and closing one or more shutters in an MBE growth apparatus to repetitively switch between different growth states therein. The broadband LED may be formed as either a surface-emitting LED or as an edge-emitting LED for use in applications such as chemical sensing, fiber optic gyroscopes, wavelength-division-multiplexed (WDM) fiber-optic data links, and WDM fiber-optic sensor networks for automobiles and aircraft.